Mrs. Vinciane Dumont chaired the Organising Committee of the 18th World Orchid Conference.
She is an active membre of the orchids community in Europe and abroad and hold many fonctions of responsability such Secretary General of the European Orchid Council , President of an Orchid Society in Switzerland for many years, Scientific Authority for CITES in Switzerland and member of the Orchid Speciliast Group where she was Deputy Chair and so on.
 


ON: Mrs Vinciane Dumont, now the18th World Congress of Orchids is finished and we can realize the success of your company, we would like to know a little about its history since we can imagine how hard is to handle an event of such size.
VD: One year and half after France obtained the organization of this congress, the organizers asked me to help them and I agreed to be in charge of this event. I soon realized 2 serious problems: an unacceptable budget and big problems of Paris. If there is a smallest event (strike, visit of an important politician, bad weather...) this city is intolerable, one does not move any more. If that arrives during the WOC, there would not be visitors to the show and it would be the financial rout. I found this risk too much heavy to carry and I shared it with the trustees who required of me to take again the direction of the event and to move the WOC out of Paris if France wanted to keep its mandate.


ON: Thus you were not at the head since the beginning which does not help too much. How do you arrange to have the two events (Florissimo and WOC) occurringr to the same time?
VD: As I have already exposed once in Florissimo and knowing that Philippe Lecoufle did it regularly, we asked Florissimo if they would like to join the two show, specially as they had good installations for the congress. Thus all started.

ON: It is the first time that the WOC takes seat in a French-speaking country. Did that help you to have the participation of French associations, in general?
VD: I had many reproaches on behalf of French orchidophiles which saw a blow assembled there to seize the power; however it was more a question of saving the save the honor of France and not to be dislocated of our role of organizer. It should have been waited until 2003 when Claudie Roguenant, new member at the Committee, manages to convince almost each French association to come to join us.

ON: How have you organized the event? You have a team which was not so big, was it?
VD: Immediatly a team of voluntary installation started. I had already some serious heads: Micheline Rusterholz, from Geneva (speakers) and Jean-Jacques Beguin (site) which had already helped me with the Congress European of 1997; Danou De Cordier (mail) from Belgium, and Rik Neyrinck (judgement) and of course some French like Jean-Michel Veillard (edition and promotion) and Philippe Lecoufle (expo). Soon others joined us like Anne-Marie Gabriel (exhibitors) and Jean-Pierre Fourlon (customs). Considering the distances between each one, we worked much by conference calls and of course e-mails. It is clearly that we can only measure the effectiveness of each one at the moment of the event happens and I must say that some were remarkable and that very happened in a perfect agreement and a very cordial environment despite of the external tension. It is a colossal effort!

ON: Passed all this tension that you all lived and considering the success of the Congress and the show, which is the balance you can strike?
VD: My surprises compared with the organization of the Congress European in 1999:
1) the French did not know what is a WOC because they do not take part or little in international demonstrations, which was not the case of the Swiss ones. They thus had to learn quickly.
2) people do all at the last minute... I had exhibitors who were registered during the last month (15%), desistances from 3 lecturers the last month also and 20% of the inscriptions to the congress. This does not facilitate the work of the organizers since in addition for any order, edition etc... it takes time more and more. 70% of the congressists were to regulate the balance of their invoice to their arrival. All this explains why the reception more difficult than was envisaged. And of course the problem of languages did not facilitate the things
.

ON: However, the balance is rather positive, isn't it?
VD: However, my impressions remain very positive: the enthusiasm and the amazement of each one in front of the spectacle of the show, the kindness of each one, the interest caused by the conferences until the last day (often that is degraded as of the 2nd day) and the success of our final official reception which for us was large financial expenses but which had the anticipated result: the absent ones were wrong. We had nearly 1000 congressmen: they came from every where, the least well represented everywhere were the Americans who normally are the pilliars. It seems that the policy and the dollar did not play in our favour; the best represented were the Asian ones. On the other hand never as many country did not take part in a WOC: exhibitors, lecturers or congressists... it is very important because the WOC is, before any thing, a whole exchange of culture, information and orchids. It is true that it was a first in French-speaking country and that nobody felt crushed.

ON: And for the visitors?
VD: We had 200.000 visitors to the show and nearly 4.000 with the small exposition of paintures of orchids at the Town hall of Dijon. Many came to the Gardens from the Arquebus for projections of orchids in 3 dimensions and the workshops for children. In fact there were too many things to do and not enough time!

ON: Your work did not finish yet.
VD: We are now in the last phase: some in the accounts, others in the acts of the congress. They must be ready for Christmas and they will be splendid and interesting.


ON: Thank you, Mrs Vinciane Dumont.





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